Last Updated On January 10th, 2019
Whether you are a weekend warrior with a list of do-it-yourself projects or a professional contractor, a cordless drill is an indispensable tool. Most jobs are completed faster and easier with the mobility of a tool like this. Finding the best cordless drill in the UK for your needs becomes easier with a little understanding of the features and thinking about your most common types of projects.
Top 10 Best Cordless Drills Comparison Table
The Cordless Electric Drill
The cordless drill is a common household and construction tool. A drill is a tool fitted with a driving attachment used to drive holes in various materials. A cordless drill is an electric tool that uses rechargeable batteries in place of a cord. Look in any garage, work truck, or contractor’s office, and you will find drills either in use or on their charging stations.
Popularity and sales of the cordless drill have continually grown since Black and Decker invented the first cordless power tools in 1961. When the Japanese manufacturer Makita made the cordless drill available to the general public in 1978, it was considered one of the best technological improvements in the contracting industry.
Without a long cord and cumbersome extension cords contractors and home users didn’t have to waste time finding an outlet and having the cord in their workspace. The best cordless drills and other tools help homeowners and professionals complete projects in less time reducing time spent on jobs. This translates to more profit for contractors and more free time for homeowners.
Battery power technology has improved from 4.8 volts in the 60s to 9.6 volts in the 80s and higher than 36 volts today. The lower voltage rates are good for light duties, and 12 to 18 volts are sufficient for most homeowner’s needs. The higher voltage is necessary for tools used for contracting work and heavy-duty projects. The downside to a higher voltage product is that the battery is bigger and heavier.
How a Cordless Drill Works
A cordless drill drives screws into a variety of materials including wood, metal, stone and hard materials. It uses a clutch to control the speed, and rotational action called torque to allow for a neat, clean hole.
A trigger or a button manage the clutch. An attachment, or the bit, is gripped by a chuck and rotated into your project material.
The parts of a drill are the handle, torque adjustment collar, chuck, forward/reverse button, pressure sensitive trigger, battery, and the drill bit.
A battery replaces the need for a power cord, creating increased mobility and therefore more versatility. After use, it is placed on a charging station to recharge. A spare is sometimes available to allow for continuous use. The battery size determines the power available for the cordless drill.
The two common types of battery options for the best cordless drills are nickel-cadmium (NiCd) and lithium-ion (Li-ion). The Nickel-cadmium batteries have been around longer but have more disadvantages such as limited life and self-discharging.
The newer Lithium-ion batteries have a shorter charging time, longer life, lower weight and hold a charge longer. This new technology doesn’t slow down the tool as the battery runs low. It just turns off when it is out of power.
The chuck is a clamp that holds the bits or other attachments to the device. To insert a bit into a chuck, you loosen it, put the bit into it, and then tighten. These are sometimes keyless, which means you don’t need a special tool to adjust it, allowing you to tighten or loosen it by hand.
If you are changing drill bits and driver bits frequently a keyless chuck makes your work much quicker and easier. If a drill has a key, it is usually stored in the handle or on top of the tool, so it isn’t misplaced.
The clutch controls the torque or rotational force of the tool. It reacts to resistance and helps protect against stripping screws and driving too deep into your material. Some of the top cordless drills have an adjustable clutch.
The adjustable clutch is a nice additional feature for changing the setting for low torque and high speed or vice versa. When you need to switch from drilling through a soft wood to a harder surface without picking up a different tool altogether, this is a helpful feature.
The clutch has a variety of settings because different material needs different speeds. Users need more torque at a lower acceleration for harder materials and less with higher momentum for soft materials. A trigger controls the speed of the drill. A forward and reverse switch allows for screw removal. This is helpful with projects involving cabinets or furniture. Some models have a button to change the rotation direction; clockwise to drill and drive screws, counterclockwise to remove screws and bolts.
Types of Cordless Drills
The three drill types are the traditional power, hammer, and impact driver drills. They can be interchangeable for some projects but for delicate work or heavy-duty work some are better than others. You might be most familiar with the traditional power drill, but depending on your type of work you might consider purchasing a hammer drill or impact driver.
Traditional Power Drill
The traditional drill is the most common of household tools. It’s a simple and versatile tool for drilling holes and driving screws. Most household do-it-yourself projects are completed by using this type. It’s versatile and easy to handle and maintain.
The hammer drill has a feature that vibrates the chuck back and forth and side to side to act like a hammer hitting the back of the tool as it is rotating. It’s a great tool for concrete, stone, block and brick. Many professional contractors and consumers that work with hard materials utilize the best cordless hammer drills to complete projects much quicker and easier.
An impact driver is a unique option for many buyers. It has a hex socket instead of a chuck. The socket acts like vice grips to spin the bit offering better control and more torque. This type might not be the best choice for delicate tasks due to its high power. Impact driver drills are easy to handle and lightweight but very loud.
Drill Designs and Sizes
Drills come in many sizes and models. The handle style determines the two common design. A T-handle features the handle near the middle of the body making it look like a T. This weight is then distributed evenly for balance and less wrist strain. The second type is a pistol-grip design with the handle at the rear.
Another distinguishing factor is the size of the chuck. These come in ¼ inch, 3/8 inch, and ½ inch, indicating the maximum diameter bit shank that fits the tool. When projects are light duty a ¼ inch is usually sufficient. The 3/8 inch is the most common size for households and can handle a variety of needs. A ½ inch is best for heavier applications.
How to Choose the Right Cordless Drill
The most important features to pay attention to when selecting the best cordless drill for your use are chuck size, battery voltage and type, and torque. Other important features include the weight, comfort design, and if it has special features and accessories.
Decide the right one for your needs by considering the types of projects you typically perform. Are you busy with do-it-yourself small household projects or do you spend all day remodelling or contracting work? Almost all variety of users needs a versatile and mobile cordless drill.
Chuck Size and type
The chuck holds the drill bit in place. Cordless drills have three size options; ¼ inch, 3/8 inch or ½ inch. The size refers to largest drill bit shank the chuck can accept. Most homeowners use a 3/8 inch for a variety of projects. Most models are keyless which you can turn to open and close with your hand. Some buyers look for a keyless chuck that you can handle with only one hand.
The battery can be the most important feature on a cordless drill (or most tools for that matter) for many people. Running out of power in the middle of a job can be frustrating. It is important to consider amp hour rating when comparing the battery runtime options. The more amp hours and more volts combined provide the longest usage time. Also, the higher the voltage equals more torque spinning strength. This overcomes resistance easier making difficult projects completed quicker.
Another area to consider when comparing batteries is the voltage. Batteries typically vary from 10.8 to 18 volt. A 12-volt model handles most household projects and repairs and minor construction. You get greater torque or power the higher the voltage is on your battery. More voltage equals more power.
Cordless drills that come with two batteries are obviously better than just one. You can continue working while charging the spare, so you don’t slow down your project. This is especially important for contractors and other professional users.
There are two types of chargers, rapid and slow. A rapid charger can fully charge your battery in 15 minutes or under while a slow charger takes a few hours. There are some smart chargers on the market that have indicators to track the recharging process and turns itself off when fully charged.
Battery types determine the weight of the drill. They are easily the heaviest part. Batteries become smaller and lighter as technology improves while increasing their run time. It can factor in the price as well. Buying the newest and best can add to the cost.
Lithium-ion batteries have longer lifespans than their Ni-Cad counterpart giving about four times greater run time. These batteries may cost more than other types but make up for it in productivity for some users.
Clutch and Torque
Torque is the measurement of the twisting force the tool applies when in use. It determines how powerful the drill is. Typically the higher battery voltage transfers to higher torque.
The clutch is important because the higher number of settings give you greater control of the drilling depth. This minimises stripping screws and protects the motor. The higher the number of clutch settings the more versatile the drill. Another feature that adds value is an adjustable clutch that allows variable speed. This adds versatility for drilling different materials and using a variety of bits. The gearbox determines the torque and speed delivered to the chuck.
Most cordless drills only have one gear, but some are available with two or three offering more acceleration ranges.
A speed range switch offers you the ability to switch between high and low momentums. High is for drilling, and low is for driving screws. A wide range between them gives you more options. Speeds can range from 300 rpm to 1000 rpm or higher.
Drill comfort and design
When selecting the best cordless drill another thing to consider along with the technical features is the style of the design and how it fits in your hand. When a project takes hours or days, it’s important to balance the power with its size and weight.
Examine the texture and contour of the hand grip as well as the size and location of the trigger. If you have extra small or extra-large hands, it’s extra important to see if your hand fits comfortably while gripping the tool. The trigger can feature variable speeds for greater control and forward and reverse switch to operate with your thumb and trigger finger.
Some feature an auxiliary handle that is helpful because it makes it easier to balance while using. A side handle allows you to perform heavy drilling with more stability and control.
Weight is a usually a tradeoff with battery power. Usually, the more powerful it is, the heavier the drill. With the new lighter Ni-Ion batteries the power is still high, but the weight doesn’t increase.
Consider how long you will be using the drill at one time while deciding what product is best for you.
The extra special accessories and features, while maybe not as important as battery and chuck size, are important features to look for that can create quicker and more efficient projects. For example, a built-in LED light helps while working in dimly lit areas.
A built-in level helps drill and install fasteners more accurately. Some have built-in storage areas and magnetic trays to keep your supplies handy while working. Many cordless models include a carrying case which makes it convenient for moving from job to job and storing the tool when not in use.
Drill and driver bit sets are sometimes included in the package. Having a good selection of bits makes choosing the right bit for the job much easier. A charging base and an extra battery come with some models.
Ten Best Cordless Drill Reviews for 2017
This Bosch model is a professional drill for fitting projects, screw driving, drilling, and impact drilling. It has an 18-volt Lithium-ion battery that can recharge in one hour. It is equipped with a Bosch Syneon Chip that provides power and endurance by managing the interaction between the power, motor, and gearbox. It has 20 settings and comes with two batteries. A LED light is included to illuminate the workspace. The low weight makes this a handy household drill.
This Makita model with an impact driver kit is ideal for tight working spaces. It features a convenient forward and reverse push button and a LED job light. Its two-speed gearbox offers a selection of acceleration ranges.
This also is a lightweight, comfortable model with high comfort grips. It comes with two batteries to prevent work stoppage when one runs low.
The Black and Decker 18V Lithium Iron 2 Gear Hammer Drill is a great all around tool for home and outdoor projects. You can adjust its speed depending on the project with its two-speed gearbox. The battery system is spring loaded for quick and easy changing. It completes jobs quick and efficiently with its power. This tool is easy to handle and comes with a convenient kit box for safe storage and transport.
This product is capable of handling tough household jobs efficiently and quickly. It can drill into wood or metal. It features 24 torque settings and a direct drill mode for a large range of adjustability. This Black and Decker model has a spring loaded slide pack battery system for quick and easy change and a secure fit. It comes with a certification making it frustration-free.
This Terratek model is a very versatile drill for professionals or for home use. It’s a powerful tool with 18 volts and a 16 position selector for the strong and delicate materials. It comes with a rugged 120 piece set. It also includes a LED light and a level to make work easier and faster. This is a high-quality product with great value. This tool comes with a 12-month warranty.
This Makita rotary hammer is powerful enough to drill through masonry and steel. It uses a lithium-ion battery. The ergonomic design is comfortable and offers even pressure and ease of control. It has forward and reverse rotation and a variable speed trigger. It is a compact and lightweight tool for a hammer drill. It offers a 3 mode switch for more versatility.
This Dewalt model is a hammer drill that has a compact and lightweight design for use in small areas. It has a two-speed transmission for longer runtime and life. It has a powerful 18 volts of energy. It has a brushless motor for higher efficiency. The all metal transmission provides long life.
The Makita DHR242Z can drill into concrete easily with its powerful design. It has 3 modes of operation to provide the operator with a variety of options that best suits each project. Vibration absorbing cushion rubbers are located between the upper and lower housings at the foot of the handle. The design is ergonomic for comfort.
The Apollo Pro Combo has power and flexibility. This is compact – great for use with wood, metal, and plastic. It has a wide range of use including home repair and renovation, outdoor work and construction.
This machine offers one-handed changing of drill bits and screwdriver with a variable speed switch for smooth drilling followed by full-on drilling. It comes with a bonus 30 piece driver accessory set. This product provides extra value with the included accessories.
The DeWalt DCK211D2T is a great cordless drill for small areas and longtime operation with its compact and lightweight design. The durable gearing is all metal which provides efficient transmission and long life. It allows you to use one hand for quick and easy bit change. It also has 2 settings, variable speed and a reverse switch.
Its 3 LED light provides maximum light for visibility. The adjustable torque has 15 positions which makes it suitable for a variety of materials and screw sizes. Also, this machine has an aluminium front housing to increase motor life with more heat dispersion.
All of the cordless drills reviews above are quality tools with a great variety of features and all offer versatility and solutions for both homeowners and professionals. Choosing the best tool comes down to which product is the most well-rounded model for most consumers.
The DeWalt DCK211D2T is our choice for the best cordless drill. By packaging the compact driver with an impact driver, it gives the consumer a great combination for a variety of projects.
These are products that have great power and longevity. The adjustable torque has 15 positions, and it allows one-handed bit changing for quick on the go flexibility. The LED light provides maximum light for work in dimly lit areas, and the batteries are lithium ion and included.
Most homeowners and professionals alike are sure to find this combination drill pack satisfies their needs for powerful, yet easy to use for many types of household and construction projects.